“These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.”
There was a time when Jesus was sharing a meal with His disciples. The Pharisees came on by and noticed the conditions of the food they were taking which they had considered “uncleaned” and “unwashed”. Traditionally, the Pharisees and Jews went through a series of ceremonial washings before they would partake in their meals. They called out Jesus and His disciples in their tracks, but Jesus immediately responds with a call out of His own. He points the Pharisees out on their own hypocrisy that even though everything they had said was right according to what came out of their mouth, they lacked heart. From there their own actions came out as a complete contradiction of the things they spoke of. As a result of the discrepancies between what they had said versus how they behaved, the Pharisees stood as the epitome of bad religion and hypocrisy, judging others while not taking responsibility of their own actions.
I find that in moments when I lack heart and worship the Lord in vain, its usually times when I have a complaint about someone else and the methods in which ways are done. Without notice, I would become more of a cynical critic rather than someone who’s willing to step up to promote change. I too would become like a Pharisee who though what came out of my mouth could in theory be correct, the person I was becoming was judgmental, emotionally unavailable, internally angry and bitter.. going through the motions to simply get by but in reality being checked out simply because I was lacking heart. When I become aware of the deterioration of my heart and spirit, it’s then where I need to enter back into the heart of worship, take responsibility for who I’ve become, and fight to recenter myself back again on becoming Christlike. It’s only then where we can turn off all the noise, stand up from the bleachers, and become a partaker on the playing field as the body of Christ in thanksgiving and true worship first and foremost through heart and attitude. From there, everything changes as we convert from being critical, cynical judges who are cowards to do anything about anything to fearless ones who will rise to the occasion with courage, boldness and confidence for who Christ is and says we are.
Forgive me Lord for those moments that happen when I lack heart and become more of a Pharisee. Continue to point out those areas that are blind in my heart and rather than pointing fingers examine my own heart. Help me quickly pull myself out of dirty water by proclaiming Your truths over my life and rather criticize and judge be more quick to move and shake to make a Kingdom difference in the lives of others.